Garage Bands

Musicians find a  haven at Uncle Bob’s  storage units.

Photography by Zade Shamsi-Basha

Driving down Valley Avenue in Birmingham, you pass an unassuming blue sign for Uncle Bob’s Self Storage nestled between Nixon Electric and U.S Automotive Services. To the average passerby, Uncle Bob’s small blue sign doesn’t warrant any further exploration. However, for the rare few who venture down the small hill leading to Uncle Bob’s main gate, the sound of electric guitars and smooth bass rhythms inevitably draws them in.

Driving through Uncle Bob’s campus on any given day, at almost any given time, you’re bound to find a few bands playing anything from 1970s “stoner rock” to Mariachi. Uncle Bob’s management not only puts up with it—they welcome it. In fact, Uncle Bob’s has gone so far as to sponsor a battle of the bands to take place in August among the 38 bands that use their facilities as a home base.

When asked about how such an eclectic group of musicians had all been drawn to this same out-of-the-way musical haven, the bands’ answers were almost identical: “We had a garage but got kicked out for noise complaints and heard about this place from a friend in another band,” or “We asked around at other storage units looking for a cheap place to practice and we were always referred to Uncle Bob’s.” Through word of mouth, Uncle Bob’s has become the place to find the underground music scene of Birmingham. Pay attention in years to come, and Uncle Bob’s may be mentioned in the origin story of the next Metallica, the next Beatles, or the next Sublime.

by Simon Richardson

One Response to “Garage Bands”

  1. Good to learn about artists in the Ham using their resources and taking initiative. Article well written by an upcoming Voice of the Metro and beautifully documented by Zade’s skillful photography.

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